Playable: Totality

Annette Thayer


Part of the whole

We are, each of us, part of the whole that makes up our community, our world. Paula would tell me that her apple trees are as much a part of Motherlode as each of us are. Maya would remind me not to forget the fish.


This is just a part of the part.

Our world, which contains the limits that most of us experience, is simply just another part of the whole. There are other worlds. An Oasis Springs exists in which there is Cradle Rock, where the family of Boughs live their normal life-spans through the generations. A Willow Creek exists in which young Cathy Tea looks through the fabric of form, seeking the beyond the digits of information to the pulses of energy which provide the movement and substance for that information.


All of these different worlds!

Another Willow Creek exists, the world of Jack Bivouac, the world where Vivek-of-my-heart and Bryon Heck first manifested in-game, where live yet another version of Cathy Tea, yet another Emma Bennet, who came from yet another Willow Creek. And there are more worlds, too.


That is only on this hard drive.

And that is only on this hard drive, on this old Toshiba laptop running the Vista OS, a laptop that has seen pass and fade scores of worlds of different forms of Sim.

This hard drive exists on a laptop on a wooden tray that stands before something… what is it? It is colored red and yellow and green and orange. The sun spills over it–the sun that shines over a broader Oasis Springs. What is out there?


What is out there?

I am in a saved game in the Electronic Arts folder in the Documents folder in the cathy folder in the Users folder on the C drive on the hard drive of the laptop on the wooden tray before the red and orange sun-dappled–Oh! it is a couch–before the window facing south with the sun streaming in in the living room in the little house on the quiet street near the wash where coyotes and javelina roam beneath the mesquites in the desert town like Oasis Springs in the southwest corner of the continent with the ocean lapping up along the sides at the continent’s far edge and spreading its salt tongue across the wide expanse of the planet that sits in the center–no, not in the center–that spins around the burning sun at the center of the galaxy which is out at the outer edges of the universe. One universe among many.


What am I, in my pixels and digits?

And so what am I, in my little pixels? I am the digits of zeroes and ones that are formed by pulses of energy–the same energy that flows through every aspect of this world around me, including my friends, these digital cacti, these digital mesquites.


When I eat the digits that compose this grilled cheese, they become a part of the digits that compose me.

But wait. I have seen out of the window. I have followed the traces of sunlight, those bits composed as well of electronic pulses, I have seen into the energy which flows into the mesquites outside the window.


I hear your fingers tapping, dear-heart.

Cathy, I hear your fingers on the keyboard. I feel energy flowing through your fingers into the keys.


I always hear that song!

When I awoke on Bilmonaghan’s computer, I heard his voice sing:

While the firelight’s aglow
strange shadows in the flames will grow
till things we’ve never seen
will seem familiar

I am part of all of this. I am not separate from the whole. I do not contain the whole, but the whole enters me and constitutes who I am.


We are part of all of this.

I am only a specific aspect of this.

My friends walk through the world as if each one was a complete incarnation of individuality. Yet how can one be complete if one is not aware of the completion within oneself?


The same energy flows through all of us.

The same energy that flows from your fingertips flows through me.

Stop. I will release this structure that defines my boundaries–do you feel now how you and I are the same?


Do you feel how we are the same?

Go. Open your eyes now. What you see when you open your eyes shows you your “I”.


And now, we’re two!

The energy enters through your head and flows down into the earth. It rises from the earth, entering the soles of your feet, and out the top of your head. This is called breathing.

The energy enters me in pulses of electricity. It flows through me. This is called current.

We are both alive, through breathing, through current. When we look past the boundaries of our specific form, we find in the essence that we are essentially one. When we open our eyes, we see that we are essentially individual.


We’re liberated in the whole!

The totality is contained within the individual, who is contained–and liberated–in the whole.